Whenever you find yourself in need of random information, or need information about a paper you're writing, where do you turn? Many people would simply say "Wiki it," or "Wikipedia it." Well what is Wikipedia? Wikipedia is a revolutionary online database that was founded in 2001. Wikipedia is a collection of 'pages' or 'articles' that are titled and relate to specific topics; it's the world's largest online encyclopedia. Wikipedia is supported by a not-for-profit organization called the Wikimedia Foundation based in San Francisco. Co founder Larry Sanger coined the name "wikipedia" by fusing together the Hawaiian word for quick, "wiki," and the end of the word encyclopedia. This gives us the title of "quick encyclopedia," or Wikipedia as we know it today. Currently Wikipedia has over 3.5 million articles in English and over 18 million articles in other foreign languages as well. The main idea that separated Wikipedia from other online encyclopedias, was that it allowed the reader to contribute. If you have an account on Wikipedia, you can contribute to any of the articles. Despite the fact that this has led to pranks and other mischief, it revolutionized the idea of encyclopedias by allowing not just a select number of scholars or experts to contribute, but allowing anyone to contribute their thoughts. Another aspect of Wikipedia that makes it different from other online encyclopedias, is that because of the allowance of so many users to post and edit Wikipedia, articles appear on events that are current and up to date as if it were almost a newspaper article. This allows users a giant wealth of current event knowledge and material as well.
Wikipedia revolutionized the idea of encyclopedias and how they are published and distributed to users worldwide. Not only does it allow multitudes of people to add whatever material they deem pertinent, it allows very up to date articles that allow us to see our world as its changing around us.